|Gigabyte GA-X48T-DQ6 DES X48 DDR3 Motherboard|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Sunday, 17 February 2008|
Page 14 of 15
Natural Resources and our Planet
It's a sad state of affairs we find ourselves in today. Our forefathers did their best to build the nation, but unfortunately the industrial revolution started a trend that we struggle now to cope with. Fossil fuels are diminishing from sustainable supply, and with nuclear reactors rapidly being shut down because of drying water supplies we will soon see a major rise in the household cost of electricity. Natural resources are rapidly disappearing, along with our polar ice caps and much of the wildlife worldwide, which makes this next decade a critical time for humans.
Since our planet is proving to us that it cannot sustain the present rate of growth, we must collectively do what we can to restore some level of balance in our favor. Gigabyte gets this. Once upon a time televisions and refrigerators were the largest consumers of household electricity, but over the past decade that shift has completely moved towards personal computer. While it's great that I can overclock the Gigabyte GA-X48T-DQ6 and get a few extra frames per second out of my favorite games, it's even better that I can put a few dollars back into my own pocket with the money I save using the Dynamic Energy Saver utility.
We all like our toys. While it's absurd how far some people will go for that last extra bit of performance, most of us could find a happy middle ground with high-end components running on less power. After all, who doesn't want better gas mileage?
So in this section I have compared the up-and-coming Gigabyte GA-X48T-DQ6 against my former mainboard solution, the ASUS P5K3 Deluxe. Both motherboards were tested using the same hardware, and both systems were repeatedly tested for consistent results. Below are the power consumption results at standby (powered off) and idle (login screen).
Test System Specifications
Power Consumption Results
During the test period the power supply was given power and left in standby mode for several minutes. This test was repeated five times, and the average for each system is displayed (although each test result was identical to the previous). The system was then powered on, and left at the login screen for approximately five minutes before the idle readings were taken and averaged.
Both motherboards were overclocked to their maximum potential, and although the P5K3 operated 115MHz faster the voltages were identical in terms of BIOS configuration. The GA-X48T-DQ6 required 2.10V for the DDR3 to reach 1844MHz whereas the P5K3 required only 2.05V. With all things being equal, the Gigabyte GA-X48T-DQ6 showed a significant advantage in regards to power efficiency. Recording a 21VA / 21W difference, the GA-X48T-DQ6 was able to conserve over 11% of the energy used to power the P5K3.
Before the DES (Dynamic Energy Saver) utility was ever installed, the X48T-DQ6 was already saving me money. Considering the amount of time I spend working at the computer, this motherboard could easily pay for itself over the life of the system!
Once DES was installed (GEST vB7.1226.1), I was able to see just how much more I could expect to save on electricity expenses. With the DES turned off, the CPU was consuming 13W at complete idle (0% CPU usage). Once I turned on the utility and switched Dynamic CPU Voltage to level one, I was able to see a swift drop in power consumption from 141W down to 137W. The benefits trailed off beyond here, and levels two and three didn't have quite the magnitude of effect. Turning on CPU throttling actually seemed to raise CPU voltage by a thousandth of a watt, and would sometimes make programs seem delayed.
With an immature BIOS at this early stage in pre-release, the GA-X48T-DQ6 doesn't overclock as well as the more mature P35-based P5K3, but this point is moot because the Gigabyte GEST utility will not operate when the system is overclocked. This ultimately means that you either keep the stock CPU settings in the BIOS or utilize the Easy Tune 5 Pro software utility to overclock on the fly if you want to (further) reduce power consumption.